The Sound and the Fury Topic Tracking: Quentin's Obsession with Caddy
June Second, 1910
Obsession 1: Quentin says here that he has deflowered Caddy, not those other boys from town. He imagines the two of them in hell together, with nobody else around. The image of hell is one of the first hints we find of Quentin's suicidal tendencies.
Obsession 2: Here, we find more insight into the nature of his obsession with his sister. In a memory of a conversation he had with his father, Quentin doesn't express a lust for his sister, but instead expresses the desire to protect the women of his family from themselves, for, according to his father; women have no respect for themselves.
Obsession 3: While walking along the Charles River, plotting his own death, Quentin speaks to someone in his thoughts about being in hell. The person to whom he speaks is Caddy. He wants to take her to hell with him, where he thinks he is going after his suicide.
Obsession 4: Quentin remembers a night years ago in their barn, when he and his girlfriend were fooling around. Though they were about to start having sex, Quentin's thoughts were still on Caddy. When she accidentally happens upon them, Quentin's attention and affection immediately falls onto her, angering his friend, Natalie. Angry with each other, he and Caddy start to fight. This is the only time in the book that we see Quentin at all associated with a female other than Caddy. Even in this instance, Quentin seems to care little for his girlfriend.
Obsession 5: Quentin again remembers a conversation he has with Caddy about all the young men in her life. In his obsession over her and her lack of virginity, he insists to her that he was the one who has disgraced her, not the other men. He wants to be the one to be ashamed with his sister.
Obsession 6: In this instance, Quentin remembers fighting his sister's jerk of a lover, Dalton Ames. Quentin is enraged at him for possibly having impregnated his sister, but Dalton does not seem to care a bit. The moment that really set Quentin over the edge happened when Dalton tried to tell Quentin that he should not worry about his sister, because all women are bitches anyway. Quentin proceeded to take a swing at him, but ended up passed out on the ground. He recalled this memory many years later while in Cambridge, hanging out with his college peers, including Gerald Bland. When arrogant ladies' man Gerald boasted about his sexual conquests, also calling all women bitches, Quentin instinctively punched him. Again, Quentin ended up bloody and beaten up, but didn't care because he seemed possessed to fight anyone who would say anything bad about women, remembering his sister, Caddy.
Obsession 7: In a conversation he has with his father about Caddy's promiscuity, he tries to convince his father that he indeed did sleep with his sister. His father sees through him, and Quentin then confesses that he only wishes that he had, so that he could protect her from the cruel world's judgment. This conversation sheds more light onto the nature of Quentin's obsession, which appears to not be a sexual lust after all.